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Denver city worker keeps getting pay increases despite not working

By   /   March 4, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Photo courtesy Denver City Attorney website

STAFF SNAFU: The city continues to increase the salary of an employee while he was on investigatory leave for nearly two years.

 

An employee who was on investigatory leave for about 20 months just received another “successful” rating and significant pay bump for the time he was away, city records show.

Denver human resources officials confirmed Denver assistant city attorney Stuart Shapiro received the rating on his annual review and his salary went from $142,922 to $147,066 because of a “merit increase,” according to city records Watchdog.org obtained this week. The increase will go into effect later this month.

Shapiro was also removed from investigatory leave on Feb. 12 and reassigned from the litigation to the municipal operations section, according to a letter obtained by CBS Denver.

Photo courtesy Denver City Attorney's office

MORE PAY: Assistant City Attorney Stuart Shapiro continues to receive satisfactory performance reviews and pay hikes despite having been on investigatory leave for about 20 months.

Watchdog.org, in cooperation with CBS Denver, broke the story last month of Shapiro’s long, paid leave while the city investigates “litigation misconduct,” according to the leave letter obtained by Watchdog.org. The city officials met with Shapiro the day after the stories ran to discuss his job situation.

RELATED: City employee paid about $212,000 while on leave

Shapiro’s attorney and Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez have refused to comment on why Shaprio has been in limbo for so long, with Martinez saying it is a personnel matter.

“I cannot comment on specific personnel matters,” Martinez wrote to Watchdog.org Feb. 2 in a response to a request for an interview about the length of Shapiro’s leave. “As a general matter, we resolve all City employment matters fairly and in conformance with applicable rules and laws as a matter of due process.”

The alleged misconduct focused around the Jamal Hunter jail abuse case, which cost taxpayers a $3.25 million settlement, hundreds of thousands in outside attorneys fees and now more than $200,000 for an attorney on leave since the July 2014.

In an intent-to-sue notice to the city, Shapiro’s attorney criticized the city and the large settlement to Hunter, saying city officials are using Shapiro as a “scapegoat” to deflect public pressure around the case.

Martinez provided CBS Denver the letter, which said the city will not purse any disciplinary action against Shapiro and he will work from home until an office is found for him in the municipal department.

“On Friday, February 12th, Mr. Shapiro was taken off administrative leave and started back to work for the City Attorney’s Office in its Municipal Operations section,” Martinez said in a statement emailed to CBS Denver with the letter. “On Friday, February 25th, the federal court issued an Order that the City met all of its obligations regarding its settlement and we consider the matter closed.”

However, U.S. District Judge John Kane’s order only said that the city’s obligations “are being met” and the case was reassigned to Judge Raymond Moore to oversee.

RELATED: Jail abuse judge recuses himself from the case

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Arthur was formerly the bureau chief for Colorado Watchdog.